Monday, August 27, 2012

Paying It Forward

Together, we trek building the world’s finest military equipment
by Ian O’B.

On September 1, 1997, I was fishing at Aurora Reservoir in Colorado. I wasn’t catching anything, but the man and his son next to me were. I kindly asked what he was using for bait and he gave me a few orange plastic salmon eggs. The next thing you know I was reeling them in. I struck a conversation with them and asked the man what it was that he did for a living. He told me he had training to work with satellites from the U.S. Air Force when he was in the Korean Air Force, and now he built them for Lockheed Martin. I realized that military training was the key to such an important job and so I enlisted in the Navy. I served five years as an aviation electrician in an S-3B squadron, and when my enlistment was up I found a job in Marietta, Georgia, at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics as an electrical and electronics mechanic. One month later a man transferred in from Colorado where there were layoffs and was my working partner on the final assembly line. It was the same man that had offered me the orange plastic salmon eggs five years before. The path that I found was the same one that Mr. Chong took long before me. It was not an easy path by any means. It requires skills, commitment, sacrifice and ability. Together we trek building the worlds’ finest military equipment for the people that fight for us.